This fourth installment in the Mercy Thompson series takes up right where the previous volume left off, as Mercy copes with the aftermath of some very traumatizing experiences that occurred at the end of the previous book.
As always, I try to limit anything that might be construed as a spoiler, but even more than most series, this one should be read in order. Events from previous books have a continual impact on the events in subsequent books, and the complexity of the world, the relationships of the characters - not to mention the characters themselves, is best appreciated by beginning at the beginning, with the first book (Moon Called).
The opening scene has Mercy making a crucial decision regarding her relationship with Adam. But before the ramifications of that decision can make themselves known, Mercy's mother shows up, having heard on the evening news about what happened to Mercy at the end of the previous book. But before Mercy can assure her mother that she is all right (or rather, that she is all right as she can be, and she has support in her friends), Mercy's vampire friend (or as close to a friend as any vampire can be) Stefan suddenly appears in the middle of her house, and he is in terrible shape, burned to a crisp, close to death. But before Mercy can begin to do figure out what to do about Stefan, an old school friend shows up on her doorstep, asking her for Mercy's help to deal with a ghost that is haunting her house. Yup, it's another typical day for Mercy, who ironically would love nothing more than to be left alone and work on cars at her garage and repair shop. That, of course, is not to be.
Mercy is a walker, a characteristic passed onto her by the Native American father she never met. She can shift at will into the form of a coyote, and much like the Coyote of legend, chaos seems to follow at her heels. Her walker abilities also enable her to see ghosts, but she really has no idea of the nature or extent of her powers - only that vampires fear them, for some reason. Soon Mercy finds herself caught up in a dangerous chain of events that have her facing some tough decisions, as usual. And as the series has so aptly illustrated thus far, such decisions have far-reaching consequences that will have to be dealt with in the future.
I have thoroughly enjoyed each book in this series. Mercy has come a long way since the first book, when she was a loner, trying to be self sufficient and avoiding ties to those around her. Even her mother realizes before Mercy does that she has created quite a community for herself, a group of friends she would (and does) trust with her life. Being part of that group means making different kinds of choices - trying not to endanger them, allowing herself to depend on them, trying to find a comfortable place between independence and dependence. Of course there isn't much time to think on these matters, as Mercy is being pursued by a day-walking vampire called "The Monster" and doing her best to save her best friend's child from a malefic ghost.
There are so many things I love about this series: the way in which the supernatural characters are believable and complicated, yet are quite clearly other, the tantalizing hints of Mercy's untapped potential, the well-crafted writing, dialogue, sensory imagery, and pacing, the constantly evolving relationships among the characters, plus the guest appearances of famous beings from mythology and folklore. The stories are dark and disturbing, occasionally humorous, always suspenseful, and often touching. The novel ends with a satisfying conclusion, yet leaves plenty of loose ends and unfinished business to make me sigh and wait impatiently, all over again, for the next book. And to wish I hadn't read this one quite so quickly. Mercy is fast becoming one of my favorite heroines, and I hope to be reading about her adventures for a long time to come.
Books in the Mercy Thompson series:
1. Moon Called
2. Blood Bound
3. Iron Kissed
4. Bone Crossed
5. Silver Born (forthcoming)
Bone Crossed (#4 in the Mercy Thompson series) by Patricia Briggs (Ace Books, 2009)
Also reviewed at:
All Booked Up: "Patricia Briggs has written up an intriguing world, where legends can be real, but not everything has been revealed yet."
Darque Reviews: "The characters are exceptional, especially the heroine who relies on her own strengths and shows her emotions in a very human way."
Saving My Sanity: "This was another excellent entry in Brigg’s Mercy series and I really enjoyed my time in her world yet again....I think my greatest delight in the book was the slow and realistic progression in Mercy, and in her relationship with Adam, as she deals with what happened to her in Iron Kissed."
SciFiGuy: "There are plenty of twists and turns in the plot to keep you guessing, some very dark and dangerous scenes and a few new revelations about Mercy’s abilities, the pack and the vampires. And a little time left over for romance."